Are you trying to figure out what is the best Cricut machine for you?
Have you been thinking about getting a Cricut Maker, but you’re wondering if it’s the right decision?
I hear ya. It’s not a small purchase so you definitely want to do your research.
Let me help you out and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the Cricut Maker and tell you why I think it’s the best Cricut to buy!
PS — This is NOT a sponsored post. I bought my Cricut Maker for myself on my birthday and I paid full price.
Well, I think it was on sale, but that’s beside the point.
I’m not trying to discount any sponsored Cricut Maker reviews, because in the end, I love my Maker, so they are right!
This is my Cricut Maker review and FAQ after buying one and falling in love with it.
The main thing that drew me to the Maker was the ability to cut leather.
I love using it to cut vinyl and paper and all that, but, as a leather crafter, being able to accurately cut leather was an exciting notion!
Since I bought it, I’ve tried cutting numerous materials. So far my favorites are leather, felt, iron-on vinyl, and chipboard.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Cricut Maker, if it’s the best Cricut to buy for you, and if it lives up to all the hype!
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here. Thank you for your support!)
What can you cut with the Cricut Maker?
The Cricut Maker can cut over 200 different material types with its different blades.
It cuts all the usual Cricut crafting materials like vinyl and cardstock with the FinePoint Blade. But wait, there’s more!
Here are some of the most popular and interesting things the Cricut Maker can cut.
Tooling and Garment Leather
The Maker can cut heavy-duty leather from 2-3 oz up to 6-7 oz with the Knife Blade and Strong Grip Mat.
One of my favorite uses for cutting leather with the Maker is DIY Leather Earrings!
Want to know more about cutting leather with the Cricut Maker? Check out this article (that opens in a new window).
With the Rotary Blade and Fabric Grip Mat, the Maker can cut through all kinds of craft felt like butter. It can even cut thick wool felt.
This one has been a game-changer, there are so many awesome things you can make with felt!
Here’s a felt project I did (with a free SVG file) for my kids Halloween costume as an example.
Balsa and Bass Wood
This is the thing that made the Cricut Maker famous. Using the Knife Blade and Strong Grip Mat, you can cut Balsa and Basswood up to 1/16” thick.
You can make layered shadow boxes, wood coasters, name puzzles, and so much more!
The Maker can cut heavy 2.0 mm chipboard with the Knife Blade and Strong Grip Mat.
This versatile material can be used to make all sorts of cute home decor, tags, boxes, frames and more.
Using the Maker and the Knife blade, you can cut your own matboard!
Instead of going to a frame shop, you can pick up frames and matboard at the store and cut the mats for your photo frames in no time flat.
All the Fabric
I know that isn’t terribly specific, but the Maker can cut pretty much any fabric thanks to the Rotary Blade and Fabric Grip Mat.
From thin, delicate fabrics like organza and gossamer to heavy-duty denim, cotton duck and Monk’s cloth, cutting is a breeze.
You can even cut quilt batting with the Maker!
If you’re a quilter or sewist, the Maker is the best Cricut to buy because it eliminates cutting out all those pieces by hand. This is a game-changer!
Besides cutting loads of different materials, what else can the Cricut Maker do?
So many things! With the QuickSwap housing, you can expand your Cricut Maker’s horizons, big time.
With the Engraving tip, the Maker can engrave on thin aluminum or copper, leather, thin acrylic, balsa or basswood, etc.
You can make custom dog tags, jewelry, keychains, and more!
With the Debossing tip, the Maker can deboss fine patterns on cardstock, poster board, leather, matboard, craft foam, and other materials.
It has a tiny rolling ball tip that rolls over the surface of your project instead of scraping across.
With the Perforating tip, you can make all kinds of easy tear-off projects, like raffle tickets, journal pages, and easy to tear out coloring pages.
Easy wavy edges
With the Wavy Blade, you can cut fun wavy edges on your project with no extra guesswork.
It’s basically a wavy rotary blade, so it can cut fabric as well as vinyl, paper, etc.
Besides the scoring stylus (which works with the Cricut Explore machines as well), the Maker has two scoring wheels: the Single Scoring Wheel and the Double Scoring Wheel.
The Single Scoring Wheel is best for thinner materials like paper and cardstock, and the Double Scoring Wheel is great for scoring thicker materials like posterboard and craftboard.
What does the Cricut Maker come with?
When you purchase a Cricut Maker, it comes with:
- The Cricut Maker machine
- Fine-Point Blade + Housing
- Rotary Blade + Drive Housing
- 12×12” LightGrip Mat
- 12×12” FabricGrip Mat
- USB Cable and Power Cord
- Fine Point Pen
- Welcome Booklet
- Quick Start Guide
- Materials to make a demo project
One thing the Maker does NOT come with is the Knife Blade or StrongGrip Mat (which is a little strange since that’s one of the main selling points), so if you’re wanting to cut thicker materials you’ll want to order those as well.
The Maker I ordered was part of a bundle that came with several rolls of adhesive and iron-on vinyl, fabric, faux leather, and sticker paper.
I separately ordered the Knife Blade and StrongGrip Mat as well.
Getting a bundled deal is a good plan so you have supplies to work with when you first get your machine.
If you’re new to cutting machines (as I was) you won’t know what you need to get at first anyway, so this gives you some materials to try out and learn with.
What extras do you need to use the Cricut Maker?
Hardware and Operating Systems
The main things you’ll need to use the Maker are a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
When using the Knife Blade to cut a project, you’ll need to have the desktop version of Design Space running on a computer, it’s not compatible with the mobile app.
However, for other cutting tasks, or just working on your design, the mobile app is fabulous.
Here is a quick list of operating system requirements:
- PC: Windows 8 or newer
- Mac: OS X 10.12 or newer
- iPhones & iPads: iOS 10 or newer
- Android: Android 6.0 or newer
If you have a Chromebook: Everywhere you look, you’ll see that Chromebook isn’t supported with Design Space. There is a way to use Design Space on it by downloading the Android app in the Play Store.
However, I haven’t been successful in getting my Chromebook to pair with the Maker to actually “Make” something. I can log into Design Space though and work on projects, so that’s something.
According to what I’ve read, you’re supposed to pair your Cricut via Bluetooth and when prompted, enter the pin “0000”. I did that and it said connection failed every time I tried.
If you only have a Chromebook, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the other above mentioned devices to use the Maker (or any cutting machine).
I have an Android phone, an iPad Air, and an older Dell laptop with Windows 10 and Design Space works great on them all.
What are the best Cricut Accessories?
The Cricut Maker has a lot of potential to make some amazing things, but you’ll need to get a few extra Cricut accessories to create certain projects.
If you’re shelling out the extra money for the Maker, you absolutely need the Knife Blade and StrongGrip mat.
If you’re planning on cutting leather, chipboard, wood, and other thick materials, these Cricut essentials are a must.
You’ll also want to get a set of Cricut Basic Tools that comes with everything you need for weeding and transferring designs after they’re cut.
Then there are all the tips you can get to use with the QuickSwap housing.
The tips themselves are fairly inexpensive and you only have to buy one QuickSwap housing to go with them all.
So far I’ve collected the Engraving tip, Debossing tip, and Double Scoring Wheel.
They work beautifully and I’ve got big plans with using the Engraving and Debossing tips on some tooling leather.
There are also a ton of pens and markers to go with the Cricut Maker, as well as a washable fabric marker.
Cutting sewing patterns with the Maker is a breeze, and with the washable fabric marker, it even marks all your pattern pieces for you!
You can use the pens to address envelopes, draw pictures, and create designs and patterns.
They come in a wide range of colors and the ones I’ve used so far seem to be long-lasting and good quality.
And besides all that, you’re going to want materials to work with! You can get iron-on vinyl, adhesive vinyl, cardstock and more from the Cricut shop.
Another great place to get vinyl is Expressions Vinyl, they have a really great selection and reasonable prices.
Looking for leather to use for your projects? I have a whole post talking about my favorite places to buy leather for jewelry and crafts.
A few other awesome Cricut accessories are the Easy Press 2 which makes ironing on vinyl SO much easier, the BrightPad that helps make weeding vinyl way less of a struggle, and a super handy carrying case for the Cricut Maker so you can take it on the go.
How big is the Cricut Maker?
Its footprint is 22.6 x 7.1 x 6.2 inches and it weighs a little over 15 lbs. The max cutting area is 23.5×11.5” if using the 12×24” mat.
When you aren’t using the Maker, it folds up all nice and compact. To open it, you just lift up on the top and it slowly unfolds.
There’s also convenient storage space inside the fold-down panel and a spot for pens and blades on the top left of the machine.
Is it worth the price?
That’s the million-dollar question. As someone who paid full price for the Cricut Maker (and isn’t made of money), I believe it was a great purchase.
There’s so much potential to make projects as a hobby or to sell if you’re looking for a side income.
One of the reasons the Cricut Maker is superior to other machines (like the Explore series) is it’s cutting force of 4 kg.
That’s 10 times the cutting force of the Cricut Explore line, and the reason it’s able to cut through thicker materials and fabrics with ease.
The Maker is a powerful machine that’s very well made and will last for years to come.
Cricut has plans to keep making new QuickSwap tips to upgrade the Maker’s capabilities, and who knows what else they will release for it in the future.
If you’re a person who loves a wide range of crafts and also saving time, the Cricut Maker is the best Cricut to buy and a great investment.
What about Cricut Design Space? Is it free or not?
I have noticed a lot of people asking about this and I’ve seen some bad information floating around, so let me just set this straight.
Cricut Design Space is totally free to use.
You do not have to pay a monthly fee just to use your Cricut (and that goes for any of them).
The only thing you have to pay monthly (or annually) for is Cricut Access, and that’s totally optional.
What is Cricut Access?
If you sign up for a Cricut Access subscription, you’ll get access to over 30,000 images, over 1,000 projects, and more than 400 fonts.
I recently signed up and I think it’s completely worth it just for the sheer convenience of the images and fonts being right there in Design Space.
Can you upload your own image files and fonts to Design Space?
If you have fonts installed on your computer, SVG or other image files you’ve downloaded or SVG files you’ve created in Illustrator or Inkscape, you can absolutely upload those to Design Space as well!
I talk about how to upload files into Design Space in this article.
You can get great fonts and design elements online and upload them to use in Design Space as well as all the other programs you have on your computer.
One thing to keep in mind regarding fonts is if you use the Cricut pens to write words on a project, Design Space has certain fonts that will write normally like handwriting.
With most fonts, the Maker will draw the outline of the letters with white space in the middle.
There are special fonts in the Design Space font menu that are made to work with the pens (or engraving tool) as one single line.
Where can you get a Cricut Maker?
There are a few places you can buy the Cricut Maker. The first two places I would recommend checking are the Cricut website and Amazon.
Sometimes you’ll find them on sale at one of those places, so be sure to check both.
I even saw it for sale on the Kohl’s website, so if you have Kohl’s cash, you could save some money!
If you want to go buy one in person, you can find them at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and Target.
Cricut products are almost always excluded from the coupons they have at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. Believe me, I’ve checked.
On the Cricut website and Amazon, you can find Cricut Maker bundles that come with materials and other Cricut essentials, which is a plus.
What other different types of Cricut machines are currently available?
Maybe you aren’t planning to cut materials like leather, chipboard, or fabrics.
If you aren’t going to use the Knife Blade, Rotary Blade, or the QuickSwap tips, is it really worth it to spend the extra money on the Maker?
If you need a machine to cut lighter materials like iron-on, vinyl, and cardstock, the Cricut Explore One, Explore Air, or Explore Air 2 may be the best Cricut for you to buy.
Here are the main differences when comparing Cricut machines besides the Maker.
The Cricut Explore One is the most affordable of the Cricut machines currently available.
It has a single carriage and it doesn’t have Bluetooth ability, but it can cut hundreds of materials with the Fine Point and Deep Point blades.
The next one on the list is the Cricut Explore Air.
It can cut hundreds of materials like the Explore one, but with a double carriage (so it can hold a pen or scoring stylus and a blade at the same time) and Bluetooth capability.
Lastly, there’s the Cricut Explore Air 2.
It does everything its predecessor did, with the added bonus of Fast Mode that you can use with most materials (the Maker also has this feature). Plus, it comes in a lot of fun colors!
These machines are all high-quality machines as well, and very popular.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of the Maker, they are all great options.
So, what’s the best Cricut to buy for beginners?
That all depends on what you want to do with your Cricut.
I started out with the Maker as a total Cricut Newbie. Being able to cut leather was the thing that I was excited about, so there was no reason to get one of the other machines.
Now that I have it, I’ve made things with iron-on, vinyl, chipboard, paper, cardstock, felt, faux leather, and more.
It’s opened up a whole new world of crafting that I had never tried before!
That being said, the other machines Cricut offers are also excellent options.
If you’re looking to make cute iron-on tee shirts, cards, scrapbooking stuff, wall art, and things like that, you would be totally fine with one of the less expensive options.
If you’re like me and want to make leather jewelry or 3D decor, you won’t regret getting the Maker.
I hope this article has helped you decide if the Cricut Maker is right for you.
If you take the plunge and get one, you’ll love it! It opens a whole new world of crafting and makes it possible to make amazing things quickly!
After you pick your perfect Cricut machine, check out my Guide to Cricut Design Space to learn what everything does and prevent Cricut Newbie Overwhelm!
- Cricut Design Space for Beginners | Everything You Need to Know
- How to Cut Leather with the Cricut Maker | Video, Tutorial, & Free SVG File
- How to Make a DIY Rustic Wood Sign with Iron-On Vinyl + Free SVG File